Usability Testing and Drupal 6
"Yowza!" was the big sound bite I took away from the Usability Testing session. "I didn't expect to feel so stupid. I don't like feeling stupid" "I need a tutorial!" "I already lost the page I just created". Drupal is harder than it looks, and we in the community tend to overlook that. Things that take us 30 seconds can take 30 minutes or more for a new user.
The testers were to be pretty Internet saavy, but they weren't to have used Drupal before. The testing scripts used no language that referred directly to the Drupal interface and they were, for the most part, library workers.
The first impression of the Administrative interface was how intense it seemed. There is a LOT going on there. Like many first Drupal users it was pretty much an overwhelming experience.
Testers were given three tasks. First was to create a form with simple fields that allowed the user to list upcoming workshops.
The testers were confused by this task. They went to, "Site Building" (not content management), which makes sense--and the page didn't really give them any hints of where there should be. The testers looked for something that would say "form or field". The concept of "Content Type" was foreign to the group and many, although there was resistance, ended up having to call the "help desk" for guidance. After users figured out how to add a field, the notion of "parent item" was universally misunderstood. Teaser was a confusing concept, the HTML filter was useful to the users.
However, once content was added--the one "tutorial" like element went away, the initial navigation on the home page.
Task 2--Create an acount for "Nancy Pearl" and give her access to create workshops. They found user management very easily. Permissions screen made sense. Folks made minor errors, but basically they understood. They went to access panel first pretty universally.
Task 3--Classify Workshops by Academic Department. Taxonomy admin page made sense to folks. Once folks figured out taxonomy more of the system started making sense. They all understood it. Main issue that folks had was vocabulary vs term. Now the idea of taxonomy should make sense to library staff--after all that is what the Dewy Decimal system is.
Task 4--No one made it to task 4.
Personally, I thought the session was excellent and a good way to kick off the conference. It is always healthy to look at what works and what doesn't work. All too often, one can become blind to issue that cause others pause because one becomes accustomed to odd work flows. Thanks to all who made the testing happen.